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Irish political leaders fail to find consensus on emergency Budget

Green Party leader John Gormley asked government and opposition leaders to meet to discuss the problems facing the Irish economy.

Green Party leader John Gormley asked government and opposition leaders to meet to discuss the problems facing the Irish economy.

The Fianna Fáil and Green Party coalition government are currently preparing a new emergency Budget which is believed to be one of the toughest in the history of Ireland.

Mr Gormley called for opposition's support at a time of national crisis and said Irish political parties should pull together to reassure the global money markets.

The Green Party leader's initiative was supported afterwards by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

"It would substantially help Ireland’s position if we were to show the international community that there is a unity of purpose to go from words to actions", told the Taoiseach in reference to the prospect of the International Monetary Fund taking control of the troubled Irish economy.

But Mr Gormley's initiative for an all-party approach to the nation's financial problems was short lived as government and opposition failed to find common ground.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny accused Fianna Fáil of bringing the nation to the brink of losing its sovereign independence and called for a general election as only a new government would have credibility in dealing with the crisis.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore told the Taoiseach "You want the opposition to solve the problem for you. You want the people of the country to pay for it and meanwhile you want to stay in office. Do you seriously expect us to agree to this?"

Political analysts suggested the Green Party's attempt to build consensus was doomed to fail as opposition parties would be more interested in getting a general election, rather than sharing the blame for the troubles of the nation's economy.

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